For those of you who read my article Chaos and Flow, you are aware of the “time costs” associated with interruptions at work in terms of reshuffling your mental states to deal with said distractions. Now we have a corresponding dollar figure, $588 billion.

As the article alludes, just during the authoring of this piece, I was interrupted 3 times not the least of which caused a 5 minute decline in productivity however.

A study by Basex found office distractions take up 2.1 hours of the average day — 28 percent — with workers taking an average of five minutes to recover from each interruption and return to their original tasks.

While the causes of interruptions tended to vary widely, particularly as the seasonal holidays throw additional tasks our way, most agree it is the dizzying array of communication devices we possess. Where Linda Stone, a Seattle based writer, attributes this to a philosophy that

I don’t want to miss anything’ because being connected makes me feel important

I am more inclined to believe it is a combination of several factors.

First and most fundamental, human beings are social animals having an innate drive to connect, neurological pathways that have evolved over time endowing us with the capacity for altruism and sharing in each others stress. Second, we are constantly being bombarded with the theme that to succeed when asked we must always have the right information, the right idea lest we miss our big break. Third, I do believe that Ms. Stone is right to a degree but only as a factor of the first two points made.

We do have a need to feel important, our brains are trying to connect in a world where technology is creating opportunities to work anywhere at anytime and have access to countless arrays of information. Now what we have to determine, are our technological creations fighting what evolution has endowed us with, or have the organizations within which they are applied become obsolete?

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